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Bing’s Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm Is Coming Soon | DrivingSales News

Bing’s Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm Is Coming Soon

May 15, 2015 0 Comments

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In a similar manner to Google’s two-step transition to mobile-friendly search ranking, Microsoft has now moved Bing into the second phase of its efforts to promote websites that are optimized for mobile.

In November of last year, Microsoft’s “mobile bots” started highlighting websites that were scaled for mobile devices. This was at about the same time as Google started to use “Mobile-Friendly” tags to mark websites that were optimized for smartphones and tablets. Subsequently, Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update, widely referred to as “Mobilegeddon,” was launched in April. Now, in a similar move, over the next few months Bing will be making mobile-friendliness a signal in ranking. However, unlike Google, Bing won’t penalize websites that don’t meet its criteria, and relevance will continue to trump mobile-optimization in its search results.

This is a significant difference, as highly relevant results that are not mobile-optimized will not get pushed down in Bing’s search results.

“This means that for mobile searches on Bing, you can always expect to see the most relevant results for a search query ranked higher, even if some of them are not mobile-friendly,” the company explained in a blog post. “While the changes will improve ranking for mobile-friendly pages, webpages that are highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalized. This is a fine balance and getting it right took a few iterations, but we believe we are now close.”

Bing explains its mobile-friendliness detection algorithm will consider a number of different factors to make the determination. The company listed the following four important aspects that will be analyzed:

  1. Navigation: The menus, buttons and links must be large enough and spaced far enough apart to provide easy navigation on a mobile device.
  2. Readability: The text should be easily readable without the necessity for zooming or lateral scrolling.
  3. Scrolling: The webpage contents should fit within the device width. Although vertical scrolling is acceptable, horizontal scrolling should not be required to view the page. Mobile-friendly pages should fit the device width well in both portrait and landscape orientations.
  4. Compatibility: The webpage content should be compatible with the device. There should not be any videos that cannot be played on mobile devices due to dependencies on plug-ins, and other content that does not work properly on all mobile devices (such as flash content, which does not work well on iOS) should not be included.

With the continued rise of mobile search, it’s not surprising Bing is following in the steps of Google to consider mobile-friendliness in its ranking algorithms, although the company is taking a less heavy-handed approach with its combined consideration of mobile-friendliness and relevance. Bing has not stated the potential impact this change may have, and it seems the company is downplaying its importance to some degree, perhaps to avoid a “Mobilegeddon” type of media frenzy.

Once it launches, its mobile-friendly algorithm will run in real-time. Therefore, when a website becomes optimized for mobile, it will benefit from the ranking algorithm the next time that Bing crawls the pages.

“Mobile-friendly webpages are key to satisfying on-the-go information needs, so it is important to optimize sites for an increasingly mobile user base,” said Shyam Jayasankar of Bing’s Mobile Relevance Team. “We are very interested in hearing your thoughts on mobile-friendliness and any feedback you may have on our plans.”

Later this summer, Bing will be launching a new tool to allow webmasters to test their sites. The company explains the tool will help “webmasters to analyze webpages using our mobile-friendliness classifier and help them understand the results.” It is expected that the tool will work in a similar way to Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool, which says whether or not a website is considered mobile-friendly and, if it’s not, offers suggestions on how to optimize it for mobile.

This announcement provides yet another reason for dealerships to ensure their websites are optimized for mobile. Bing didn’t specify when these ranking changes will be launched, other than saying that they will arrive in the “coming months.”

About the Author:

The DrivingSales News team is dedicated to breaking the relevant and the tough stories affecting car dealers. Have questions for DrivingSales News? Reach the team at news@drivingsales.com.

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